Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown {book review}


Every month a blog I follow hosts a book club, but the books chosen all have to do with food. Particularly baking. It’s very similar to what we tried to do here with the Pages of the Mind book club, but without food. That was probably our downfall.

Anyway I have participated only twice as it’s hard to keep my blog up and read and bake for another. However I have been desperately searching for a new book to read. Recently I started re-reading some of my favorite books that are gathering dust on my shelf, but before I even got a quarter through I’d leave it abandoned on the bedside table. So, I picked up a copy of Cupcakes at Carrington’s to join along with Kelly @ An American Cupcake in London.

Cupcakes at Carrington’s is Alexandra Brown’s first novel and the first of at least 3 “at Carrington” titles. There is a very clever story line with lots of twists, everything was not as it seemed. There were of course a few obvious secondary stories, but overall I thought an entertaining read. I loved the variety of characters and how most of them seemed like real people. I also enjoy how Georgie isn’t perfect. So many authors try to make their main characters sound like a normal person and many try to hard. Georgie is real and likeable.

One of my first thoughts after completing the novel was that the title was slightly mis-leading. The story didn't revolve around the café, Cupcakes at Carrington’s. The café was only a place that Georgie stopped by to visit her best friend and to grab a red velvet cupcake when she needed comforting. I think there needed to be a slightly bigger tie to the café to warrant it being the title of the book. Seeing as it’s the first book in a trilogy or maybe a series, I’m afraid the author may have wasted this title on this book. It may have fit a different story line better. Seeing as I’m criticizing I feel like I need to have a better title in mind like: Valentine’s Day at Carrington’s. A majority of the story is focused on that particular day so it would make sense…also the following book is titled Christmas at Carrington’s. I can see a pattern... 

Anyhow overall I read the book to be entertained and for the couple of nights it took me to read, I was! So, overall I would recommend it as a fun, light, and entertaining read! I haven’t decided what to bake for the book/bake club. Red Velvets being the obvious choice, seeing as Georgie always went for Red Velvets as her choice of comfort food. I was thinking I’d go for something that I find comforting and giving it a Carrington’s makeover. Or I will just go with the red velvets with a twist…. Hum?? Decisions! Will update when I finally get around to baking something!! ;0) 

Cupcakes at Carrington's Amazon USA (kindle only) Amazon UK 
from back of the book: 
Georgie Hart loves her job--running the luxury handbag concession at Carrington's Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay, and treating herself (once too often!) to a red velvet cupcake with buttercream icing in Carrington's café. But Georgie is thrown into disarray when Carrington's is plunged into a recession-busting makeover, cueing the arrival of femme fatale Maxine, who wields the axe in her immaculately-manicured hands. It spells a recipe for disaster for Georgie and soon she is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions of her gorgeous boss, James. And when hot newcomer Tom arrives, who may or may not be the best thing since sliced bread, Georgie must decide where her loyalties really lie...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern {review and discussion}


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter. (from the back of the book)

Melanie says: I first picked up the book while on vacation in Yellowstone, not because I wouldn’t be enjoying myself, but because I needed something for when the sun went down and my mind was still wide awake. I only mention this because I think it is a testament to the quality of the storytelling in the book. I found myself thinking about the book and sometimes hurrying back to the hotel to read while I was observing the awesomeness that is Yellowstone. The story moves a bit slow at times and the battle is much less epic than the back cover implies but the characters are relatable, despite their magical tendencies, and the plot is quite intriguing. I imagine the circus being something of a black and white Cirque du Soleil but where the action happens up close and personal - I found myself wanting to step into the pages and experience the circus myself. I also really liked the two converging story lines (but only after I realized the importance of reading the chapter description, which is not something I often do). 


Lisa says: I remember seeing this in my local store and thinking it looked intriguing, but instead of picking it up I just put it on a mental back burner. When Melanie suggested bringing back the book of the month (we’re bringing it back with a little less structure!) and it was fate that she mentioned this book! I really enjoyed this book! I agree with Melanie saying it is a bit slow at times. The circus set up reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my favorite books). The Night Circus is definitely intriguing and felt very real! As I was reading I was like either the ending is going to be pants (check me and my British slang) or the author new what she was writing. Sometimes I feel authors have a good idea and then don’t/can’t follow through to the end. Erin Morgenstern knew what she wanted the story to be. I can’t wait to see what her next novel might be like! 

Janet says: I really enjoyed this book and found myself unable to put it down. Interestingly, I really likes Bailey's story line the best. As I read, I wanted to hear more about him! Of course I was very happy with the way his character ended up in the story. I felt a little disappointed in the climax. I think it lacked a little given the enormity of emphasis put on it.I loved what Marco and Celia made for each other, one of my favorite parts was when Celia experienced the ice tent. I felt like I was there and I wanted to explore more!Overall I recommend this book, I really enjoyed it!

And last but not least it looks like this book, yet again, is going to be turned into a movie. Yay. (note the sarcasm) 

Update Jan 6 2013: Loraine @ What I Felt About.... shares her thoughts on The Night Circus here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris {book review}

Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse Novels.....I like'em. I got hooked on the tv show True Blood thanks to some of my friends. Lucky for me one friend had all 11 Sookie Stackhouse Novels for me to borrow. I read them all in a very short amount of time, they are quick reads. 

There were a few books in the middle that got a little boring but I read those quick too so I could get to the next book. It is always true what they say that the book are better than the movies/tv shows. 

It seems to me what the tv show did was cram most of the big plot lines from the first few books into the first season of the show, there are now 4 seasons and after reading the books and seeing the things they have changed and added and left out I'm not sure where the shows gonna go. Either way there are beautiful people and I enjoy the show. This post wasn't supposed to be about the tv show but rather and encouragement to read the books, they're fun and sexy.



Since I couldn't find a good synopsis for the books here is a quick one.... Sookie Stackhouse is a southern bell from Louisiana who can read minds. She also has found a world involving vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies and anything else you can think of in the super natural world. There is love and war when you read these books you will be on edge waiting to find out what happens.
~Stacy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Night Circus: Book of the Month


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.


I have had a bit more time to read lately and it was suggested to me by Melanie (a fellow reviewer on the blog) that we should try and bring back the Book of the Month. August has already started, but I thought I would announce the book now and we can then discuss it later in September? Maybe middle of the month say the 15th? 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a book that caught both Melanie and I's attention. If you've already read it great! I can't wait to hear what your thoughts are! If you haven't but are now intrigued grab yourself a copy and join along with us! 

Here is a link to a social networked Night Circus game. I haven't joined because I don't know if I need to read the book first. Here is another link to Erin Morgenstern's web page. 
Happy Reading!! 


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